Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Darna! Ang Pagbabalik (1994) DVDRip

The Filipina version of Wonder Woman, Darna first appeared in a popular 1950s comic book series, and has been the subject of over a dozen film adaptations, but remains almost completely unknown in the West. A volcanic eruption in the countryside forces a number of families to abandon their homes in Talisay and seek refuge in Manila. Young country girl Narda (Anjanette Abayari) leads a secret double life as the crime fighting Darna and can transform back and forth between these two personas by yelling out either "Narda" or "Darna." While trying to find her grandmother and little brother, Ding (Lester Llansang), Narda is viciously struck upside the head and the pearl that furnishes her power is stolen. The culprit is Valentine Adan (Cherie Gil), a televangelist who claims that only she can protect the city from an advancing lahar (volcanic mudflow) and will save those who have pledged their undying devotion to her. Valentine's obviously dark intentions become more and more apparent and Narda discovers that the woman is actually the daughter of Valentina (Pilata Corales), Darla's arch-enemy. Ding is able to recover the pearl, allowing his sister to transform back into Darna and, in the ensuing chaos, the aged Valentina is injured and reverts to her true form. Like her mother, Valentine is actually a gorgon, concealing the snakes in her hair beneath a bathing cap-like hat. Before the inevitable face-off with Valentine, Darna gains a new ally when she helps police lieutenant Max Ablan (ASIAN COP: HIGH VOLTAGE's Edu Manzano) foil a bank robbery and, later, a kidnapping perpetrated by mob boss Magnum (Bong Alvarez). The crimelord manages to escape in both instances, however, and is actually playing a key role in Valentine's plan. She also has another clandestine operative, who is charged with making sure that Darna is helpless to protect Manila from the rapidly approaching lahar.

The voluptuous Abayari looks terrific in her scanty costume and the film offers some low tech fun for fans of campy superhero adventures in the Santo and Superargo vein. The flying sequences are accomplished with atrocious blue screen rear projection and cell animation, while the bladder and morphing FX utilized for the monsters are equally quaint. Although it occasionally delivers the serial-style thrills one expects from this genre, the screenplay is episodic and the proceedings are too slackly paced, clocking in at least 15 minutes too long. DARNA ANG PAGBABALIK was co-directed by Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes (who would collaborate again the following year on HALIK NG VAMPIRA), and produced by William C. Leary, who had previously worked on an earlier adaptation called, simply, DARNA (1991).

Starring (View all) :

Anjanette Abayari
Narda / Darna

Edu Manzano

Cherie Gil

Pilita Corrales

Rustom Padilla

Bong Alvarez

Lester Llansang

Eva Ramos
L300 Noisy Mother

Pen Medina
Barangay Captain

Jemanine Campanilla

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